Butch Guice is doing some incredible work these days. But, if you want to see him in a formative stage, then Beyond the Clock is the place to go!
Beyond the Clock 24, 25: 1980
Editors and publisher: J. R. Sams and Rich Morrissey
Beyond the Clock is actually a continuation of an existing fanzine called Batmania, started way back in 1964 by fanzine stalwart Biljo White. With issue 18, a new editor took over, one young Rich Morrissey (a nice obituary can be found here). Rich passed away in 2001, but he did get to break in to the professional ranks as a writer to some degree. From what I could find, he did some work for DC, and also had written for many fanzines before that. He was also one of those well known “letterhacks” who were published frequently in the letters pages of the comics of the 70s and 80s, and is even listed as one of the “superstars” of that group on a wiki page here. When Morrissey decided to stop publishing the fanzine, he offered the editorship to J. R. Sams, who changed the name to Beyond the Clock with issue 24 (he actually contacted DC to see if he could continue to use the Batmania name, but they refused). J.R. was also smart enough to bring in a new artist to function as art director, and from what can be seen in these two issues, the primary artist in the form of Jackson “Butch” Guice.
You can see some examples of the beautiful Neal Adams influenced work of young Guice above, in the form of covers for both issues and a centerfold pin up…more to follow! Guice would break into professional comics just a few years after these fanzines, first in an independent company, but soon after on Rom and Micronauts. You can see the incredible run of work up to now here, for many companies, including the “big two.” I have personally seen some incredible work posted on Facebook recently. Guice is producing amazingly detailed (and seemingly very well researched) work for which I can only assume he will receive the accolades he is due. But for now, let’s stay back in the shoulder padded days of the early 80s!
Beyond the Clock is primarily devoted to the character of Batman, but as J.R. says in the opening editorial, there were plans to branch out into other areas. This issue starts an original series by Guice featuring characters by the names of Tempest and Pithius, a sort of Beauty and the Beast. Guice excels in the art department, experimenting a bit with layouts and doing what he does best, rendering with ink. His style at that point was somewhat of a fusion of Neal Adams and John Byrne. See below.
The printing leaves a little to be desired, to be honest, but you can see the potential. The text features of issue 24 include “The Untold Legend of the Batman: a Critique,” by H. L. Davis; Guice’s “Out of the Inkwell,” a letters page, and an article dedicated to the countdown to the 500th issue of Detective Comics. Below are a few more examples of Guice from this issue.
Issue 25 was supposed to include a new installment of Guice’s Tempest character, but for some reason it did not appear. A few new artists were brought in, including myself. I will give in to my need for ego boosting (or, probably more realistically, a haranguing), showing a few spot illos from this issue below.
Of course, what really excites the eyes is more art by Butch! As in the previous issue, he contributes a two page centerfold, seen below.
The art above accompanies an article by Morrissey called “The Chronology of the Batman.” Other articles include an interview by James Cassara with science fiction author Ralph Roberts, and a profile on Dick Giordano. Admittedly, the issues are a little thin compared to other fanzines profiled here in Ink Stains, but Guice’s art deserves to be seen. Below is an illustration commemorating the countdown mentioned above.
As always, I appreciate any comments you can leave behind, and feel free to request your favorite fanzine to be profiled, and even better, to share any zines you have with me!
Ken Meyer Jr.